The 25th spot on the Philadelphia Phillies will probably go to Darin Ruf, if a corner outfielder is not added. Are the odds in his favor?
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The Spring Swing:
There are reasons to expect Ruf on the opening day roster. That is provided he continues to produce in Clearwater. He certainty didn’t stop after his September in Philly. The faithful, however, should be prepared for another streaky stud.
He played winter ball for Tiburones de La Guaira. His appearances were: 24 in leftfield, 5 as the designated hitter and 3 at first base. He batted 3rd once (contest 10 of 32) and the rest were in the cleanup slot. He averaged .258 with 17 free passes, 10 taters and 27 RBI. He was plunked by 4 pitches and made 2 errors.
- 1 for 12 with a double over 3 games.
- 7 for 23 (.304) with 4 homeruns and 6 RBI over 5 battles.
- 0 for 13 over 4 contests.
- 11 for 30 (.367) with 5 bombs and 12 RBI over 8 games.
- 1 for 13 with 3 RBI over 4 contests.
- 12 for 35 (.343) with 1 dong and 3 RBI over 8 battles.
If Michael Bourne drops to $7 million for 1 return campaign, Ruf and John Mayberry Jr. would not be job competitors. Because Ben Revere has a below-average arm, which is similar to Juan Pierre’s. Revere would probably play left, while Dom Brown and Mayberry would patrol right. That said, don’t expect Bourne’s price to drop that low.
Financial Table @ Philadelphia Phillies storyline: What happens to that $7 million?
Alfonso Soriano would be a workable solution in the lineup behind Ryan Howard, and $4 million each is a reasonable 2-tour value. However, Soriano is not a good defensive fit with Michael Young at third, which would weaken left-side fielding. Plus, Rube Amaro isn’t eager to part with a minor leaguer in a potential swap.
A platoon of Scott Hairston or Vernon Wells with Brown and Laynce Nix is financially attractive at $2.5 million. However, Hairston wants $10 million over two 162’s, which would be a bargain for an everyday right fielder. The Angels would eat most of Well’s contract, which would cost the Phils $4 million each for 2 years and a prospect. It doesn’t look like a trade that would benefit the red pinstripes.
The current plan is $7 million, tops, for a starting outfielder. He doesn’t have to be a power hitter because the need is for run production, which means extra base hits. The position in the batting order is not an issue either. The fly-ball tracker can also be a left or right-handed swinger.
The three acquisition opportunities to look for are just before spring training, at the end of March and July 31. Without an added player, the locals will alternate Brown and Mayberry in right. The other corner will feature Ruf and Nix. That way the bench will always have either 2 right or left-handed sticks to pinch hit. Plus, the leather of Mayberry and Brown would probably be used in the late innings.
The Corner Outfielders:
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- Current leftfielders projected to 441 at-bats equals .265, 18 dongs and 78 RBI.
- Current right fielders produced a .242 mark, 19 jacks and 72 RBI.
Pierre was instrumental when he schooled Ruf, Brown and Mayberry about the jobs to be won after the departure of 2 stars. Ruf during a recent interview stated his intentions are more than just making the club. And he wasn’t the only one who voiced an opinion.
Charlie Manuel was asked during the winter meetings about his training camp expectations. The first words out of his mouth were about Ruf. Manuel anticipates seeing him at the plate and on the field after his continued growth in Venezuela.
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This is the 9th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (The Number One Requirement) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds or Studs.
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